What am I doing wrong ? (Marketing a rental)

26 Replies

I have recently purchased a studio apartment and renovated it to rent. I thought I would have no problem getting a tenant via craigslist (since everyone I know looks for apts there). But so far its been a couple of weeks and no one has bit.I also posted on Livelovely.com.

Are there any strategies to better market via craigslist ?

Should I be looking at other websites to post my listing ?

My property:

- 619 sq ft studio in downtown SD.

- Fully furnished

- Luxury location across the street to ballpark and convention center, etc.

- Started at $1850/mo. and now down to $1750-1700/mo.

Are your ads live on CL? They tend to ghost ads if they think you're spamming.

Are you getting any calls?

How does your unit compare to similar ones in the same area as far as price, size, amenities, etc.?

Have you thought about offering unfurnished as well? Furnished is a pretty small submarket. Unless you are doing weekly/monthly rentals most people will have their own stuff.

Rentmetrics.com shows average rent for a studio there to be more in the $1500 range. It may just be overpriced.

I've always used Craigslist, but a lot of folks on BO swear by Postlets.

good luck!

Wow, so many answers so quickly.

I will definitely check out Postelets.com. I had been using Zillow for rent estimates, Rentmetrics is now in my bookmarks, thank you.

I'm pretty green, I thought furnished would be an asset. My HOA recently sent me a letter for posting on air b&b, they have a 30 day min lease.

No calls, no emails. That is why I was curious to see what I was doing wrong.

Are there any strategies for posting on CL ?

First, I would make sure my price is competitive, like other posters suggested, and post on free sites like HotPads.com which posts to a lot of other sites that allow users to search using a map etc. THEN I would spend my energy on craigslist. There are A LOT of tricks to craigslist, since all newer posts are put ahead of yours, so within minutes, your post could be on the second page of search results. You can therefore not use the 'one and done' approach to posting on CL. I live in a very competitive market(Chicago), so you have to:

  • Post often--with different titles so that CL knows its not a repeat post or spam
  • Post when your target renter would be online -- not during the work day when your renter would be at work. By the time they get online there could be 1000 postings on top of yours
  • Get creative with the title so it stands out from the other titles in the list.
  • And I would hope you already have pics and good descriptions about the property so that there are few questions. Make sure you cover utilities, public transportation access, amenities(restaurants, parks, maybe hot bars nearby, since a studio is probably for a single person etc).

Fully furnished is definitely a niche. The vast majority of apartment rentals are unfurnished, other than appliances. Can you pull the furniture?

No calls plus @Jean Bolger 's feedback make it sound over priced. If market rent for a property like yours is $1500 you need to be priced at or a little below $1500. At $1700 you will have a hard time getting a tenant and will end up with a crummy tenant. They're the only ones who will pay your high price. Good tenants will have plenty of choices. New landlords sometimes think a high price will result in a good tenant. Just the reverse. If you want your choice of tenants, price it at $1450.

Yup, thought higher rent = higher quality tenant. Guess the property is due for a markdown.

Thanks for the CL info, I will try them all today after work hours.

Any more tips, suggestions, etc. would be greatly appreciated.

Originally posted by @Robert Luken :
Yup, thought higher rent = higher quality tenant. Guess the property is due for a markdown.

Thanks for the CL info, I will try them all today after work hours.

Any more tips, suggestions, etc. would be greatly appreciated.

Higher quality property can equal a higher quality tenant but higher thn market rent will often lead to a LOWER quality tenant that can't get approved for the in demand properties that are competitively priced. If you want to get your pick of tenants price your unit 5% below market.

I see...and in the long run you obviously want a better tenant > an extra couple of hundred bucks a month.

I believe I have a high quality property and thought to price accordingly. Did not think it would close me off to GOOD tenants.

Rent-o-meter says your rent is at the higher end of the spectrum but not way out of line. And it looks like Craigslist may have ghosted your ads. I cannot find it but can find a ton within a block or two. Have a friend search for your ad using the same verbiage you did. They use your IP address to block you. If you have a cable or FIOS router, unplug it for a while and plug it back in. Might reset the IP address.

Might as well post the link:

craigslist ad

Feedback is appreciated, be as brutal as you want.

I have a feeling the ghost idea might be right.

@Robert Luken

Hi there! I cannot comment on the rental market or anything in your area, I just wanted to say that I think unfurnishing your studio probably would be the best idea. Just judging from the pictures, it looks as if the apartment is from the 1960's/70's if it weren't for the flatscreen tv. Maybe even furnishing with different furniture if you really want to keep it at $1700+/mo.

Just my 2 cents, I figured I'd toss it in there.

Good luck with it, I wish you the best!

In addition to what others said, here are some ideas:

1. Add a phone number to your ad on CL - people want people they can call.

2. Post your ad 3 times a day - 8:30 AM, 11:30 AM and 4:30 PM. Just trust me - those times work.

3. Make your headline standout. Instead of beginning the headline with
"FULLY FURNISHED..." start with "THIS IS THE BEST CONDO YOU CAN FIND..."

4. Offer a GIFT if they rent from you before the end of the month to create a sense of urgency (e.g., my FLAT SCREEN TV is yours if you sign a 1-year lease before April 30)

Your ad comes right up with the ad number or the link you provided but I cannot bring it up in a search at all.

As far as the quality of the property you have to be careful with that, too. If your unit is worse than the competition you'll have to give a significant discount to get a tenant. If its just slightly better than the competition (and priced right) you'll get tenants easily. If its much better and you try to price it accordingly you will have a hard time filling it. People who can afford that higher rent will go for a unit in a better area, a bigger unit, or whatever. Having extra nice finishes in a smaller unit/property with worse amenities/worse area won't give you a good return on your investment.

Wendell: We have the same last name! I will post at the times you suggest and definitely tweak my headline.

Todd: Do you think this is a case of CL ghosting my ad ? I will look into it as I plan to do multiple postings (with different headlines) at the times of day suggested.

Jon: The unit is in a very nice area in Downtown San Diego, however it is very overdeveloped in terms of apartment housing.


Originally posted by @Robert Luken :
I have recently purchased a studio apartment and renovated it to rent. I thought I would have no problem getting a tenant via craigslist (since everyone I know looks for apts there). But so far its been a couple of weeks and no one has bit.I also posted on Livelovely.com.

Are there any strategies to better market via craigslist ?

Should I be looking at other websites to post my listing ?

My property:

- 619 sq ft studio in downtown SD.

- Fully furnished

- Luxury location across the street to ballpark and convention center, etc.

- Started at $1850/mo. and now down to $1750-1700/mo.

I would say leverage a Realtor or get your own license :). Most quality tenants and traffic still going through the MLS from my experience. Craig-list had given me headache.

Hope it help

Thanks

Huy

Checking Rentometer and Craigslist for Studios in SD, looks like you're overpriced. If the area is good and property condition is good and its still not renting, usually it's the price.

I would suggest speak with a Realtor who knows the area well to figure out pricing that's competitive.

We've had lots of luck with Postlets and like the fact that it is syndicates to so many outlets, so I am not having to plug in the ad on each one. In addition, Postlets partially guides you through some of the things you might want to feature or post on your ad. It also makes a flyer. As soon as the property is renovated the flyer goes in all of our front facing windows so that potential tenants can see it (I think I garnered that tip from a prior poster on BP) and it has worked well.

Maybe its the ad it self. Send me over the link and il take a look over it to see if you can maybe tweak it to seem more appealing.

If the unit is as good as you say you just need people through the door for it to sell itself.

DM me the CL link

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